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1.
PLoS One ; 17(4): e0266485, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1779771

ABSTRACT

Governments around the world are seeking to slow the spread of Covid-19 and reduce hospitalisations by encouraging mass vaccinations for Covid-19. The success of this policy depends on most of the population accepting the vaccine and then being vaccinated. Understanding and predicting the motivation of individuals to be vaccinated is, therefore, critical in assessing the likely effectiveness of a mass vaccination programme in slowing the spread of the virus. In this paper we draw on the I3 Response Framework to understand and predict the willingness of New Zealanders to be vaccinated for Covid-19. The Framework differs from most studies predicting willingness to be vaccinated because it is based on the idea that the willingness to adopt a behaviour depends on both involvement (a measure of motivational strength) with the behaviour and attitudes towards the behaviour. We show that predictions of individuals' willingness to be vaccinated are improved using involvement and attitudes together, compared to attitudes alone. This result has important implications for the implementation of mass vaccination programmes for Covid-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , Humans , Mass Vaccination , New Zealand/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
2.
Public Health Nutr ; 25(4): 904-912, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1758095

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to describe meat consumption rationalisation and relationships with meat consumption patterns and food choice motivations in New Zealand adolescents. DESIGN: This was a cross-sectional study of adolescents from high schools across New Zealand. Demographics, dietary habits, and motivations and attitudes towards food were assessed by online questionnaire and anthropometric measurements taken by researchers. The 4Ns questionnaire assessed meat consumption rationalisation with four subscales: 'Nice', 'Normal', 'Necessary' and 'Natural'. SETTING: Nineteen secondary schools from eight regions in New Zealand, with some purposive sampling of adolescent vegetarians in Otago, New Zealand. PARTICIPANTS: Questionnaires were completed by 385 non-vegetarian and vegetarian (self-identified) adolescents. RESULTS: A majority of non-vegetarian adolescents agreed that consuming meat was 'nice' (65 %), but fewer agreed that meat consumption was 'necessary' (51 %). Males agreed more strongly than females with all 4N subscales. High meat consumers were more likely to agree than to disagree that meat consumption was nice, normal, necessary and natural, and vegetarians tended to disagree with all rationalisations. Adolescent non-vegetarians whose food choice was motivated more by convenience, sensory appeal, price and familiarity tended to agree more with all 4N subscales, whereas adolescents motivated by animal welfare and environmental concerns were less likely to agree. CONCLUSIONS: To promote a reduction in meat consumption in adolescents, approaches will need to overcome beliefs that meat consumption is nice, normal, necessary and natural.


Subject(s)
Diet, Vegetarian , Meat , Adolescent , Animals , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Food Preferences , Humans , Male , New Zealand
3.
J Prim Health Care ; 14(1): 21-28, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1740524

ABSTRACT

Introduction Telemedicine, including telephone triage, is increasingly being used in New Zealand general practices. Telephone triage involves diverting requests for same-day healthcare to a phone system where presenting complaints are explored only sufficiently to identify the most appropriate management pathway. Aim To assess the rates of repeat triage among general practice patients treated virtually via phone and compare these with outcomes for patients who were dealt with in person. Method 6 weeks of clinical telephone triage data were collected for Gore Medical Centre. Comparisons were made for patients treated virtually or in person, for whether complaints were a respiratory issue or not, and for whether their triage represented incomplete resolution of a previously triaged health complaint. To do this, patient notes for the 7 days prior to the phone triage were reviewed for medical consultations related to the same condition. Results Over 6 weeks, 455 telephone triages took place at the Gore Medical Centre: 133 triage phone calls resulted in 132 (29%) patients being treated virtually. Over the 6 study weeks, 19 virtually treated triage patients phoned again for further care of the same problem within 7 days (14%) while 23 patients (7%) who had been triaged to in person assessment also sought further care within 7 days. This difference was statistically significant (P Discussion Virtual treatment via telephone triage at Gore Medical Centre resulted in a statistically increased likelihood of re-triage within 7 days compared with in person treatment. This raises questions about the efficacy of virtual treatment via telemedicine compared with in person treatment after triage.


Subject(s)
General Practice , Triage , Family Practice , Humans , New Zealand , Telephone , Triage/methods
4.
Resuscitation ; 172: 74-83, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1740147

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The Australasian Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium (Aus-ROC) out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) Epistry (Epidemiological Registry) now covers 100% of Australia and New Zealand (NZ). This study reports and compares the Utstein demographics, arrest characteristics and outcomes of OHCA patients across our region. METHODS: We included all OHCA cases throughout 2019 as submitted to the Epistry by the eight Australian and two NZ emergency medical services (EMS). We calculated crude and age-standardised incidence rates and performed a national and EMS regional comparison. RESULTS: We obtained data for 31,778 OHCA cases for 2019: 26,637 in Australia and 5,141 in NZ. Crude incidence was 107.9 per 100,000 person-years in Australia and 103.2/100,000 in NZ. Overall, the majority of OHCAs occurred in adults (96%), males (66%), private residences (76%), were unwitnessed (63%), of presumed medical aetiology (83%), and had an initial monitored rhythm of asystole (64%). In non-EMS-witnessed cases, 38% received bystander CPR and 2% received public defibrillation. Wide variation was seen between EMS regions for all OHCA demographics, arrest characteristics and outcomes. In patients who received an EMS-attempted resuscitation (13,664/31,778): 28% (range across EMS = 13.1% to 36.7%) had return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) at hospital arrival and 13% (range across EMS = 9.9% to 20.7%) survived to hospital discharge/30-days. Survival in the Utstein comparator group (bystander-witnessed in shockable rhythm) varied across the EMS regions between 27.4% to 42.0%. CONCLUSION: OHCA across Australia and NZ has varied incidence, characteristics and survival. Understanding the variation in survival and modifiable predictors is key to informing strategies to improve outcomes.


Subject(s)
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation , Emergency Medical Services , Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest , Adult , Australia/epidemiology , Humans , Male , New Zealand/epidemiology , Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest/epidemiology , Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest/therapy , Registries
5.
Med J Aust ; 216(6): 312-319, 2022 Apr 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1737288

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation and New Zealand Ministry of Health recommend all children aged ≥ 5 years receive either of the two mRNA COVID-19 vaccines: Comirnaty (Pfizer), available in both Australia and New Zealand, or Spikevax (Moderna), available in Australia only. Both vaccines are efficacious and safe in the general population, including children. Children and adolescents undergoing treatment for cancer and immunosuppressive therapy for non-malignant haematological conditions are particularly vulnerable, with an increased risk of severe or fatal COVID-19. There remains a paucity of data regarding the immune response to COVID-19 vaccines in immunosuppressed paediatric populations, with data suggestive of reduced immunogenicity of the vaccine in immunocompromised adults. RECOMMENDATIONS: Considering the safety profile of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines and the increased risk of severe COVID-19 in immunocompromised children and adolescents, COVID-19 vaccination is strongly recommended for this at-risk population. We provide a number of recommendations regarding COVID-19 vaccination in this population where immunosuppressive, chemotherapeutic and/or targeted biological agents are used. These include the timing of vaccination in patients undergoing active treatment, management of specific situations where vaccination is contraindicated or recommended under special precautions, and additional vaccination recommendations for severely immunocompromised patients. Finally, we stress the importance of upcoming clinical trials to identify the safest and most efficacious vaccination regimen for this population. CHANGES IN MANAGEMENT AS A RESULT OF THIS STATEMENT: This consensus statement provides recommendations for COVID-19 vaccination in children and adolescents aged ≥ 5 years with cancer and immunocompromising non-malignant haematological conditions, based on evidence, national and international guidelines and expert opinion. ENDORSED BY: The Australian and New Zealand Children's Haematology/Oncology Group.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hematology , Neoplasms , Adolescent , Australia/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Child , Child, Preschool , Humans , Neoplasms/therapy , New Zealand/epidemiology , Vaccination
6.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(5)2022 Mar 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1732018

ABSTRACT

Migrant workers have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. To examine their access to health services and social protection during the pandemic, we conducted an exploratory scoping review on experiences of migrant workers in three countries with comparable immigration, health, and welfare policies: Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. After screening 961 peer-reviewed and grey literature sources, five studies were included. Using immigration status as a lens, we found that despite more inclusive policies in response to the pandemic, temporary migrant workers, especially migrant farm workers and international students, remained excluded from health services and social protection. Findings demonstrate that exploitative employment practices, precarity, and racism contribute to the continued exclusion of temporary migrant workers. The interplay between these factors, with structural racism at its core, reflect the colonial histories of these countries and their largely neoliberal approaches to immigration. To address this inequity, proactive action that recognizes and targets these structural determinants at play is essential.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Transients and Migrants , COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Services , Health Services Accessibility , Humans , New Zealand/epidemiology , Pandemics/prevention & control , Public Policy , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Vaccine ; 40(14): 2150-2160, 2022 03 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1713023

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Adequate maternal vaccination coverage is critical for the prevention and control of infectious disease outbreaks such as pertussis, influenza, and more recently COVID-19. To guide efforts to increase vaccination coverage this study examined the extent of vaccination coverage in pregnant New Zealand women over time by area-level deprivation and ethnicity. METHODS: A retrospective cohort study was used consisting of all pregnant women who delivered between 01 January 2013 and 31 December 2018, using administrative health datasets. Outcomes were defined as receipt of influenza or pertussis vaccination in any one of the relevant data sources (National Immunisation Register, Proclaims, or Pharmaceutical collection) during their eligible pregnancy. Ethnicity was prioritised as Maori (NZ indigenous), Pacific, Asian, and Other or NZ European and deprivation was defined using New Zealand Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD). RESULTS: Between 2013 and 2018, Asian women had the highest maternal vaccination coverage (36%) for pertussis, while Maori and Pacific women had the lowest, 13% and 15% respectively. Coverage of pertussis vaccination during pregnancy in low deprivation Maori women was 24% and 28% in Pacific women. This is in comparison to 30% and 25% in high deprivation Asian and European/Other women, respectively. Similar trends were seen for influenza. CONCLUSION: Between 2013 and 2018 maternal vaccination coverage increased for pertussis and influenza. Despite this coverage remains suboptimal, and existing ethnic and deprivation inequities increased. There is an urgent need to focus on equity, to engage and support ethic communities by creating genuinely accessible, culturally appropriate health services.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Influenza Vaccines , Female , Humans , New Zealand/epidemiology , Pregnancy , Pregnant Women , Retrospective Studies , Vaccination , Vaccination Coverage
8.
BMJ Open ; 12(2): e053611, 2022 02 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1705658

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Our objective was to assess the level of COVID-19 preparedness of emergency departments (EDs) in Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ) through the views of emergency medicine specialists working in district health boards around the country. Given the limited experience NZ hospitals have had with SARS-CoV-2, a comparison of current local practice with recent literature from other countries identifying known weaknesses may help prevent future healthcare worker infections in NZ. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of NZ emergency specialists in November 2020 to evaluate preparedness of engineering, administrative policy and personal protective equipment (PPE) use. RESULTS: A total of 137 surveys were completed (32% response rate). More than 12% of emergency specialists surveyed reported no access to negative pressure rooms. N95 fit testing had not been performed in 15 (12%) of respondents. Most specialists (77%) work in EDs that cohort patients with COVID-19, about one-third (34%) do not use spotters during PPE doffing, and most (87%) do not have required space for physical distancing in non-patient areas. Initial PPE training, simulations and segregating patients were widespread but appear to be waning with persistent low SARS-CoV-2 prevalence. PPE shortages were not identified in NZ EDs, yet 13% of consultants do not plan to use respirators during aerosol-generating procedures on patients with COVID-19. CONCLUSIONS: NZ emergency specialists identified significant gaps in COVID-19 preparedness, and they have a unique opportunity to translate lessons from other locations into local action. These data provide insight into weaknesses in hospital engineering, policy and PPE practice in advance of future SARS-CoV-2 endemic transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cross-Sectional Studies , Emergency Service, Hospital , Humans , Infection Control/methods , New Zealand/epidemiology , Personal Protective Equipment , SARS-CoV-2
9.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(4)2022 02 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1702857

ABSTRACT

In 2020, in the first COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, Aotearoa New Zealand consistently maintained stringent public health measures including stay-at-home lockdowns and distancing responses. Considering the widespread disruption to social functioning caused by the pandemic, this paper aimed to explore environmental and social factors that influenced the wellbeing of individuals during the first lockdown in Aotearoa New Zealand. Our mixed-methods study involved a survey (n = 1010) and semi-structured interviews of a subset of surveyed individuals undertaken at the tail end of the first 2020 lockdown. Survey participants were recruited through social media-driven snowball sampling, less than 50% were aged under 45 years and 85% identified as female. Of those interviewed, 63% identified as female. Qualitative interview findings and open-ended survey results were analysed thematically. Participants described a variety of factors influencing wellbeing, largely related to the community and household; physical, behavioural, and lifestyle factors; access to health services; and social and economic foundations. While much of the focus of COVID-19 recovery was on reversing the economic and physical toll of the pandemic, our findings emphasise the need to empower individuals, families, and communities to mitigate the pandemic's negative implications on wellbeing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Female , Humans , New Zealand/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2
10.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(4)2022 02 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1699702

ABSTRACT

There have been widespread issues with the supply and distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) globally throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, raising considerable public concern. We aimed to understand the experiences of healthcare workers using PPE during the first COVID-19 surge (February-June 2020) in Aotearoa/New Zealand (NZ). This study consisted of an online, voluntary, and anonymous survey, distributed nationwide via multimodal recruitment. Reported domains included PPE supply, sourcing and procurement, fit-testing and fit-checking, perceived protection, trust and confidence in the workplace, mental health, and the likelihood of remaining in the profession. Differences according to demographic variables (e.g., profession and workplace) were examined. We undertook a descriptive analysis of responses to open-text questions to provide explanation and context to the quantitative data. The survey was completed in October-November 2020 by 1411 healthcare workers. Reported PPE shortages were common (26.8%) among healthcare workers during surge one in NZ. This led to respondents personally saving both new (31.2%) and used (25.2%) PPE, purchasing their own PPE (28.2%), and engaging in extended wear practices. More respondents in the public system reported being told not to wear PPE by their organisation compared with respondents in the private sector. Relatively low numbers of respondents who were required to undertake aerosol-generating procedures reported being fit-tested annually (3.8%), a legal requirement in NZ. Healthcare workers in NZ reported a concerning level of unsafe PPE practices during surge one, as well as a high prevalence of reported mental health concerns. As NZ and other countries transition from COVID-19 elimination to suppression strategies, healthcare worker safety should be paramount, with clear communication regarding PPE use and supply being a key priority.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Personal Protective Equipment , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Health Personnel/psychology , Humans , Infection Control/methods , New Zealand/epidemiology , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires
11.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 2720, 2022 02 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1692530

ABSTRACT

We develop a mathematical model to estimate the effect of New Zealand's vaccine rollout on the potential spread and health impacts of COVID-19. The main purpose of this study is to provide a basis for policy advice on border restrictions and control measures in response to outbreaks that may occur during the vaccination roll-out. The model can be used to estimate the theoretical population immunity threshold, which represents a point in the vaccine rollout at which border restrictions and other controls could be removed and only small, occasional outbreaks would take place. We find that, with a basic reproduction number of 6, approximately representing the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, and under baseline vaccine effectiveness assumptions, reaching the population immunity threshold would require close to 100% of the total population to be vaccinated. Since this coverage is not likely to be achievable in practice, relaxing controls completely would risk serious health impacts. However, the higher vaccine coverage is, the more collective protection the population has against adverse health outcomes from COVID-19, and the easier it will become to control outbreaks. There remains considerable uncertainty in model outputs, in part because of the potential for the evolution of new variants. If new variants arise that are more transmissible or vaccine resistant, an increase in vaccine coverage will be needed to provide the same level of protection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19/prevention & control , Models, Theoretical , Quarantine , Vaccination , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Disease Outbreaks , Humans , New Zealand/epidemiology
12.
Rural Remote Health ; 22(1): 7185, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1689617

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: In countries such as New Zealand, where there has been little community spread of COVID-19, psychological distress has been experienced by the population and by health workers. COVID-19 has caused changes in the model of care that is delivered in New Zealand general practice. It is unknown, however, whether the changes wrought by COVID-19 have resulted in different levels of strain between rural and urban general practices. This study aims to explore these differences from the impact of COVID-19. METHODS: This study is part of a four-country collaboration (Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA) involving repeated cross-sectional surveys of primary care practices in each respective country. Surveys were undertaken at regular intervals throughout 2020 of urban and rural general practices throughout New Zealand. Five core questions were asked at each survey, relating to experiences of strain, capacity for testing, stressors experienced, types of consultations being carried out and numbers of patients seen. Simple descriptive statistics were used to analyse the data. RESULTS: A total of 1516 responses were received with 20% from rural practices. A moderate degree of strain was experienced by general practices, although rural practices appeared to experience less strain compared to urban ones. Rural practices had fewer staff absent from work, were less likely to use alternative forms of consultations such as video consultations and telephone consultations, and had possibly lower reductions in patient volumes. These variations might be related to personal characteristics of rural as compared to urban practices or different models of care. CONCLUSION: New Zealand rural general practice appeared to have a different response to the COVID-19 pandemic compared to urban general practice, illustrating the significant strengths and resilience of rural practices. While different experiences from COVID-19 might reflect differences in the demographics of the rural and urban general practice workforce, another proposition is that this difference indicates a rural model of care that is more adaptive compared to the urban one. This is consistent with the literature that rural general practice has the capacity to manage conditions in a different way to urban. While other comparable countries have demonstrated a unique rural model of care, less is known about this in New Zealand, adding weight to an argument to further define New Zealand rural general practice.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , General Practice , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , New Zealand , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
13.
Viruses ; 14(2)2022 02 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1687049

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, has wreaked havoc across the globe for the last two years. More than 300 million cases and over 5 million deaths later, we continue battling the first real pandemic of the 21st century. SARS-CoV-2 spread quickly, reaching most countries within the first half of 2020, and New Zealand was not an exception. Here, we describe the first isolation and characterization of SARS-CoV-2 variants during the initial virus outbreak in New Zealand. Patient-derived nasopharyngeal samples were used to inoculate Vero cells and, three to four days later, a cytopathic effect was observed in seven viral cultures. Viral growth kinetics was characterized using Vero and VeroE6/TMPRSS2 cells. The identity of the viruses was verified by RT-qPCR, Western blot, indirect immunofluorescence assays, and electron microscopy. Whole-genome sequences were analyzed using two different yet complementary deep sequencing platforms (MiSeq/Illumina and Ion PGM™/Ion Torrent™), classifying the viruses as SARS-CoV-2 B.55, B.31, B.1, or B.1.369 based on the Pango Lineage nomenclature. All seven SARS-CoV-2 isolates were susceptible to remdesivir (EC50 values from 0.83 to 2.42 µM) and ß-D-N4-hydroxycytidine (molnupiravir, EC50 values from 0.96 to 1.15 µM) but not to favipiravir (>10 µM). Interestingly, four SARS-CoV-2 isolates, carrying the D614G substitution originally associated with increased transmissibility, were more susceptible (2.4-fold) to a commercial monoclonal antibody targeting the spike glycoprotein than the wild-type viruses. Altogether, this seminal work allowed for early access to SARS-CoV-2 isolates in New Zealand, paving the way for numerous clinical and scientific research projects in the country, including the development and validation of diagnostic assays, antiviral strategies, and a national COVID-19 vaccine development program.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Genome, Viral , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cohort Studies , Cytopathogenic Effect, Viral , Humans , Middle Aged , New Zealand/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vero Cells , Whole Genome Sequencing , Young Adult
14.
PLoS One ; 17(2): e0263376, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1677589

ABSTRACT

Governments around the world are seeking to slow the spread of Covid-19 by implementing measures that encourage, or mandate, changes in people's behaviour. These changes include the wearing of face masks, social distancing, and testing and self-isolating when unwell. The success of these measures depends on the commitment of individuals to change their behaviour accordingly. Understanding and predicting the motivation of individuals to change their behaviour is therefore critical in assessing the likely effectiveness of these measures in slowing the spread of the virus. In this paper we draw on a novel framework, the I3 Compliance Response Framework, to understand and predict the motivation of residents in Auckland, New Zealand, to comply with measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The Framework is based on two concepts. The first uses the involvement construct to predict the motivation of individuals to comply. The second separates the influence of the policy measure from the influence of the policy outcome on the motivation of individuals to comply. In short, the Framework differentiates between the strength of individuals' motivation and their beliefs about the advantages and disadvantages of policy outcomes and policy measures. We found this differentiation was useful in predicting an individual's possible behavioural responses to a measure and discuss how it could assist government agencies to develop strategies to enhance compliance.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Masks , Motivation , New Zealand/epidemiology , Physical Distancing , Quarantine , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Surveys and Questionnaires
15.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(3)2022 02 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1674626

ABSTRACT

Physical activity (PA) participation was substantially reduced at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this study was to assess the association between PA, mental health, and wellbeing during and following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in the United Kingdom (UK) and New Zealand (NZ). In this study, 3363 adults completed online surveys within 2-6 weeks of initial COVID-19 restrictions (April/May 2020) and once restrictions to human movement had been eased. Outcome measures included the International Physical Activity Questionnaire Short-Form, Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale-9 (mental health) and World Health Organisation-5 Wellbeing Index. There were no differences in PA, mental health or wellbeing between timepoints (p > 0.05). Individuals engaging in moderate or high volume of PA had significantly better mental health (-1.1 and -1.7 units, respectively) and wellbeing (11.4 and 18.6 units, respectively) than individuals who engaged in low PA (p < 0.001). Mental health was better once COVID-19 restrictions were eased (p < 0.001). NZ had better mental health and wellbeing than the UK (p < 0.001). Participation in moderate-to-high volumes of PA was associated with better mental health and wellbeing, both during and following periods of COVID-19 containment, compared to participation in low volumes of PA. Where applicable, during the current or future pandemic(s), moderate-to-high volumes of PA should be encouraged.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Communicable Disease Control , Exercise , Humans , Mental Health , New Zealand/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , United Kingdom
16.
PLoS One ; 17(1): e0262846, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1662440

ABSTRACT

In many countries of the world, COVID-19 pandemic has led to exceptional changes in mortality trends. Some studies have tried to quantify the effects of Covid-19 in terms of a reduction in life expectancy at birth in 2020. However, these estimates might need to be updated now that, in most countries, the mortality data for the whole year are available. We used data from the Human Mortality Database (HMD) Short-Term Mortality Fluctuations (STMF) data series to estimate life expectancy in 2020 for several countries. The changes estimated using these data and the appropriate methodology seem to be more pessimistic than those that have been proposed so far: life expectancy dropped in the Russia by 2.16 years, 1.85 in USA, and 1.27 in England and Wales. The differences among countries are substantial: many countries (e.g. Denmark, Island, Norway, New Zealand, South Korea) saw a rather limited drop in life expectancy or have even seen an increase in life expectancy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , Life Expectancy , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/virology , Child , Child, Preschool , Databases, Factual , Developed Countries , England/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Middle Aged , Mortality , New Zealand/epidemiology , Norway/epidemiology , Republic of Korea/epidemiology , Russia/epidemiology , United States/epidemiology , Wales/epidemiology , Young Adult
17.
Health Econ Policy Law ; 17(1): 107-119, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1655360

ABSTRACT

Aotearoa New Zealand went 'hard' and 'early' in its response to COVID-19 and has been highly successful in limiting the spread and impact of the virus. The response has ramped up over time, and has included various levels of: border control; advice on hygiene, physical distancing and mask wearing; advice to remain at home if unwell; and testing and tracing. A four-level Alert Level framework has guided key actions at different levels of risk. Strong leadership from the Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, and Director-General of Health and high levels of community co-operation have supported the response. The country is most vulnerable at its borders, where arrangements have been of concern; advice on testing and the wearing of masks has changed over time; while the use and distribution of personal protective equipment has also been of concern. The country overall was not well prepared for a pandemic, but policy-making has been nimble. Key challenges for 2021 include swiftly rolling out a vaccine, catching up on delayed health care, and deciding how and when the border can reopen. The economic, and associated social, challenges will last many years.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , New Zealand , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
18.
Health Res Policy Syst ; 20(1): 8, 2022 Jan 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1634970

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The INFORMAS [International Network for Food and Obesity/Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) Research, Monitoring and Action Support] Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI) was developed to evaluate the degree of implementation of widely recommended food environment policies by national governments against international best practice, and has been applied in New Zealand in 2014, 2017 and 2020. This paper outlines the 2020 Food-EPI process and compares policy implementation and recommendations with the 2014 and 2017 Food-EPI. METHODS: In March-April 2020, a national panel of over 50 public health experts participated in Food-EPI. Experts rated the extent of implementation of 47 "good practice" policy and infrastructure support indicators compared to international best practice, using an extensive evidence document verified by government officials. Experts then proposed and prioritized concrete actions needed to address the critical implementation gaps identified. Progress on policy implementation and recommendations made over the three Food-EPIs was compared. RESULTS: In 2020, 60% of the indicators were rated as having "low" or "very little, if any" implementation compared to international benchmarks: less progress than 2017 (47%) and similar to 2014 (61%). Of the nine priority actions proposed in 2014, there was only noticeable action on one (Health Star Ratings). The majority of actions were therefore proposed again in 2017 and 2020. In 2020 the proposed actions were broader, reflecting the need for multisectoral action to improve the food environment, and the need for a mandatory approach in all policy areas. CONCLUSIONS: There has been little to no progress in the past three terms of government (9 years) on the implementation of policies and infrastructure support for healthy food environments, with implementation overall regressing between 2017 and 2020. The proposed actions in 2020 have reflected a growing movement to locate nutrition within the wider context of planetary health and with recognition of the social determinants of health and nutrition, resulting in recommendations that will require the involvement of many government entities to overcome the existing policy inertia. The increase in food insecurity due to COVID-19 lockdowns may provide the impetus to stimulate action on food polices.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Health Promotion , Communicable Disease Control , Health Policy , Humans , New Zealand , Nutrition Policy , SARS-CoV-2
19.
PLoS One ; 16(12): e0259579, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1637068

ABSTRACT

Happiness levels often fluctuate from one day to the next, and an exogenous shock such as a pandemic can likely disrupt pre-existing happiness dynamics. This paper fits a Marko Switching Dynamic Regression Model (MSDR) to better understand the dynamic patterns of happiness levels before and during a pandemic. The estimated parameters from the MSDR model include each state's mean and duration, volatility and transition probabilities. Once these parameters have been estimated, we use the one-step method to predict the unobserved states' evolution over time. This gives us unique insights into the evolution of happiness. Furthermore, as maximising happiness is a policy priority, we determine the factors that can contribute to the probability of increasing happiness levels. We empirically test these models using New Zealand's daily happiness data for May 2019 -November 2020. The results show that New Zealand seems to have two regimes, an unhappy and happy regime. In 2019 the happy regime dominated; thus, the probability of being unhappy in the next time period (day) occurred less frequently, whereas the opposite is true for 2020. The higher frequency of time periods with a probability of being unhappy in 2020 mostly correspond to pandemic events. Lastly, we find the factors positively and significantly related to the probability of being happy after lockdown to be jobseeker support payments and international travel. On the other hand, lack of mobility is significantly and negatively related to the probability of being happy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/psychology , Happiness , Markov Chains , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , New Zealand/epidemiology , Nonlinear Dynamics , Pandemics , Regression Analysis , Statistics as Topic
20.
Addict Behav ; 127: 107230, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1623291

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 public health measures, including lockdowns, have disrupted psychological service delivery for substance use and behavioural addictions. This study aimed to examine how addictions treatment had been affected by COVID-19 related factors from the perspective of addiction and mental health service providers. Participants (n = 93) were experienced service managers and clinicians in New Zealand who completed an online survey. Clinicians reported increased presentations for problems related to internet gambling (n = 57, 61%), gaming (n = 53, 57%), social media use (n = 52, 56%), and pornography (n = 28, 30%). A qualitative analysis of responses generated six themes. Themes included service management and increased administrative burden, and service delivery reconfiguration. Access improved for some clients because of convenience and reduced structural barriers. However, online service delivery was problematic for those with unstable or no internet access and devices that could not support video conferencing and/or lack of safe, confidential or private spaces at home. Increased client complexity and restricted in-person care prompted changes to focus, and content of clinical interventions, and some respondents offered more frequent but shorter appointments. Clinicians who provided services by phone or email, rather than video conferencing, reported treatment was less effective, with reduced rapport and engagement a contributing factor. The New Zealand addictions sector has responded to COVID-19 by increasing treatment access through distance-based options. Maintaining multifaceted models of care that are agile to rapidly changing environments presents unique challenges but is critical to addressing the needs of people impacted by addiction.


Subject(s)
Behavior, Addictive , COVID-19 , Behavior, Addictive/therapy , Communicable Disease Control , Humans , New Zealand , SARS-CoV-2
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